Tuesday, May 14, 2013

When a child is hurting, Part 1

What do you do when one of your children is hurting?  I don't mean the kind of hurt that can be fixed by a band aid or some ointment.  I mean the kind of hurt that is deep inside.  The kind of hurt that a parent can't fix.  No amount of kissing, hugging or rocking can fix this.  One of my babies is in deep trouble and I don't know how to help her.

It's not often that I feel helpless as a parent.  I'm 48 years old.  I'm an adult.  I'm supposed to know what to do when it comes to my kids.  This time, I don't.  Dan and I have tried everything we know to try.  We are at a loss for what to do next.  Frustration has set in. 

Some background....

My middle child is 9 years old.  She is in the 3rd grade.  She attended PreK4 and Kindergarten at our parish school.  She did very well.  Just before she began first grade, we decided that we would homeschool our kids.  Although it was a life long desire of mine to homeschool our kids, our decision to finally make the leap was a financial one.  We just couldn't swing the tuition for our 3 kids without a little help from Dan's parents and we were tired (and prideful) of being so needy.  Sending them to a public school was just NOT an option for us....thus our decision to homeschool.

All three of our kids did well that year.  We used a Catholic homeschooling curriculum called Catholic Heritage Curricula.  I loved it!  Every subject integrated our Catholic faith!  Amelia finished her first grade materials easily.  The only issue I saw was that she struggled with reading.  She had a tendency (still does) to jump ahead of herself and read a word or thought that isn't there...yet.  She was always in such a hurry to get through her reading that it seemed she just didn't want to take the time to sound out a word.  She would just guess.

We had a ball that year!  We took our first family vacation EVER to Tennessee...right when our parish school had just begun the year!  This was so freeing!  We went on lots of field trips...to the zoo, the alligator farm, our local arboretum and lots of parks!  We played and worked at our own pace.  Sometimes we stuck to a strict schedule and sometimes....we just played it all by ear!

Certainly we had days where it was a struggle to stay on task, but for the most part, everyone was agreeable and happy.  Occasionally, one of them would have a melt down, or would just refuse to be productive.  The beauty of the homeschooling lifestyle was the fact that it was OK to skip a day or two....to just chill out!  We weren't following the school's rules...we didn't have to get through certain things on a certain day.  We got it done when we got it done.  And guess what? It all got done!  We survived!  As a matter of fact, my kids thrived and so did I.  It was a year I will never forget.

The decision to return to our parish school the next year was not an easy one.  I wouldn't say that the decision was mutual, between my husband and I, but it was necessary for one of us to compromise.  Since both Dan and I work part time, we had to "tag-team" during the week for the "teacher" responsibilities.  My husband is an elementary school teacher, but he found it difficult to teach his own children.  After much discussion and prayer, it was decided the kids would return to our parish school the next year.

This is where the story gets interesting....and heartbreaking.  Stay tuned for "When a child is hurting, Part 2".

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